Sparsity-Aware Intelligent Massive Random Access Control in Open RAN: A Reinforcement Learning Based Approach

by   Xiao Tang, et al.

Massive random access of devices in the emerging Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) brings great challenge to the access control and management. Exploiting the bursting nature of the access requests, sparse active user detection (SAUD) is an efficient enabler towards efficient access management, but the sparsity might be deteriorated in case of uncoordinated massive access requests. To dynamically preserve the sparsity of access requests, a reinforcement-learning (RL)-assisted scheme of closed-loop access control utilizing the access class barring technique is proposed, where the RL policy is determined through continuous interaction between the RL agent, i.e., a next generation node base (gNB), and the environment. The proposed scheme can be implemented by the near-real-time RAN intelligent controller (near-RT RIC) in O-RAN, supporting rapid switching between heterogeneous vertical applications, such as mMTC and uRLLC services. Moreover, a data-driven scheme of deep-RL-assisted SAUD is proposed to resolve highly complex environments with continuous and high-dimensional state and action spaces, where a replay buffer is applied for automatic large-scale data collection. An actor-critic framework is formulated to incorporate the strategy-learning modules into the near-RT RIC. Simulation results show that the proposed schemes can achieve superior performance in both access efficiency and user detection accuracy over the benchmark scheme for different heterogeneous services with massive access requests.


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